Do you wish there were more hours in the day? Do you find that you are always busy but not much is getting accomplished? How well are you managing your time at home?
If you are disorganized, you probably aren’t as efficient and productive as you’d like to be. Time management and being organized go hand in hand. When both are in alignment, you’ll be working at peak performance.
Here are 8 ways to be more efficient at home
Get organized. You can’t do anything else in this list until you conquer this first. If you want to become more efficient, you have to get organized. You can’t become an efficient person if you are surrounded by piles, clutter and don’t have working systems in place.
Have systems in place. Once you get organized, create processes and systems for everything you do in your home. Once you give each space a purpose in your home, then you can create a system and process for the things that live in that space.
Streamline processes. Once your systems are in place and you work with them for a little, you’ll realize that you can streamline them. Try to take a task from 7 steps down to 3. Think about how you can make that task as simple as you can.
Have less. The less useless stuff you have in your home that’s just taking up space, the easier tasks will get in your home. The less stuff you have, the less you have to think about. Everything will get easier. It’s also going to be easier to clean your home. You’ll be more efficient because you can move quicker through your home.
Think “grab and go.” When you are getting ready to go out in the morning or evening, you want to be able to find what you are looking for immediately and grab it. When you need to leave your house, you want to be able to grab items and go. This can only happen if all of the above falls into place.
Keep to-do lists. Clear the mental clutter and keep daily to-do lists. The clearer your thinking is, the more efficient you’ll be. When you hang onto mental clutter, it takes you longer to process and remember things you need to do.
Schedule household chores. Get onto auto pilot when it comes to tackling household chores. Make a list of everything you tackle in your home on a weekly basis and add it to your to-do list. Schedule days for laundry, house cleaning, food shopping, errands.
Plan and prepare. If you can plan and prepare, you’ll free up time during the week to focus on more important things that need your full attention. Plan your outfits, plan your meals, plan where you need to be for the week and watch how much more efficient you will become.
Remember, none of the above can be accomplished if you aren’t physically organized. Make a plan to get organized and then focus on becoming more efficient and productive. You’ll save money, have more free time, less stress and you’ll be more focused. You’ll be running like a well-oiled machine.
Article Published in Florida Weekly
Week January 19-25, 2023
Does your home make you feel happy? It’s a pretty easy question, right? Does living in disorganization and chaos make you happy? If you are starting to feel like you’re making your life more complicated, trust that feeling. The more you hold on to physically and mentally, the more complicated your life becomes. Have you hit a breaking point? Have you realized that enough is enough and you need to make a change?
Being disorganized and having too much stuff will soon become a problem in the home. When there aren’t any systems to contain everything, it becomes a chaotic, stressful and an overwhelming environment. I’m not just talking about sentimental items here. Too much stuff also means, the unopened piles of mail, the magazines collecting dust, the random things sitting in your closets that you forgot you had and the piles of clothes in the closet that haven’t been worn in years.
Then you have items in your home that have meaning and are special to you, but after a while the really important things that mean something to you will mesh with the unimportant things. When you walk into your home, it ultimately all blends in together.
How does your home make you feel? Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions. Jot down any thoughts that come to mind when answering these questions. Clearing the mental clutter and putting things on paper will help you through this process.
You know you have too much, but it’s so overwhelming to tackle the project and you just don’t know where to begin. You also have to be ready to make the commitment to change and you have to be ready to declutter. You can’t get organized without decluttering first.
Are you ready to tackle this project? You will definitely hit a breaking point and you’ll wake up one day and say, “I’m ready.”
I hope this article will make you think about how much you have and how decluttering and getting organized will make your life easier and allow you to become more efficient and productive.
When you are ready, make a plan, break the process down and commit to tackling it.
How many times have you planned to get organized? How many times did you begin the same project and 3 hours later you found you have made no progress and are in a bigger mess than when you started? Most organizing projects fail in the beginning stages because people lose focus and get distracted.
Here are 10 ways to avoid distractions and stay focused
Make a plan. Mark your organizing project on your calendar just as you would schedule an appointment. Choose a time of day to tackle this project when you are at your best. You can look forward to this project and give yourself time to get motivated and have a solid plan of how you are going to attack the project.
Set a time limit. Block off 3 hours for your organizing project. If it will take you more than 3 hours, schedule a lunch break in between. If you organize more than 3 hours straight, you are setting yourself up for burnout and stress.
Disconnect. Before you tackle your project, make a conscious effort to not answer your phone, check your texts, email or social media. Shut down from everything. You will be amazed at how much work you will accomplish.
Limit interruptions. If you have children that need to be tended to, plan to have a babysitter watch them during your project time. If you are tackling this project during office hours, make your staff aware that you are not to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency.
Focus. Once you start organizing, it is going to be easy to veer off and do other things. Focus on the task at hand. Try not to jump from task to task. Breaking your project down into small tasks will help you stay focused.
Don’t leave the area. The biggest mistake people make is leaving the area they are working in. If you leave the room you are working in, you will get distracted, lose focus and your project will take you longer or you may not finish at all. Instead of picking up an item and moving it to another area of the house, keep a bin of items that need to be transferred other rooms. Disburse the items when you are finished.
Make quick decisions. Don't spend too much time deciding whether to keep something. If you can't decide, put it aside and move on. Save it until the end.
Don’t get stuck. If you are organizing paper, try not to read full articles or get started in reading magazines. Rip out articles that are important to you and move on.
Don’t involve too many people. Sometimes it’s better if you tackle this project alone or with another person. If you involve too many people, the chances of you getting distracted and losing focus will be very high. Once people begin in conversations, they stop working get distracted and the projects take twice as long.
Reminisce later. It's ok to reminisce with sentimental items, but don't let it zap your time. Decide whether to keep or toss and then move on. After you get organized, re-visit the items and reminisce about them.
Without distractions, your project will take you half the time. You will have finished with more energy. You will be motivated and energized to continue and move forward with other projects.
I’m probably one of the most efficient people you’ll ever meet! I’ve taken daily/monthly tasks and streamlined them as much as I can to save myself time and energy. I’ve done this in all the jobs I’ve had throughout the years, also applied it to my home life. There are tools I use that help with the process.
Here are 6 tools I use to stay organized
Calendar. I don’t use a digital calendar. I hate them and I won’t use them. Some people love them and that’s ok, but that doesn’t work for me. I have 2 paper calendars. One I use for work and home that I carry with me to work. The other calendar is a weekly planner that sits on my desk in my office. It contains all the paper that I need to tackle throughout the year. There isn’t any paper scattered around the house. All my bills, appt. cards, invites, things I must do are in this planner. It gets rid of the mental clutter. I’ve never missed an appointment, never paid a bill late and never missed an event or redemption of a reward card.
Clock. Time management is my specialty and using a clock helps in the process. When I’m writing articles, preparing my newsletter, or doing anything at the computer, I use the clock and give myself a block of time to complete tasks. I keep a clock in the bathroom to keep me on track when getting ready. When working with clients, I’m always keeping track of our time together to make sure the project is running efficiently and we’re being super productive.
Systems. I’ve created simple systems in my work and home life. I always tell clients, the simpler the system, the easier it’s going to be to maintain. Creating a space for everything in your home and office is also key. I want to be able to grab something when I need it and go about my day. I don’t want to touch 5 things before I touch the item I need. I don’t want to waste time thinking about where things are located.
To-do lists. On Fridays, I look at the week ahead and create a daily to-do list for each day. I look at where I need to be, what errands I have to run, and I even jot down household chores like laundry. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished gets pushed to the next day and I make sure it gets done by the end of the week. Working with a daily to-do list keeps me on task for the week and because I know ahead of time which area of the town I’ll be in; I make sure I get my errands done while I’m there.
Live simple. It’s not a tool, but it’s a way of life that helps me run efficiently. When you live simply, you have less to clean up, less to worry about and less to stress about. I like quality over quantity. I like nice things, not too much, but just enough.
Eat healthy. Again, not a tool, but when you eat processed junk food, you’ll usually feel sluggish and who feels like being productive when you feel like that? Eating clean, healthy food and drinking lots of water will give you more energy and in turn you’ll be more efficient and productive.
All of the above have one thing in common: Structure. If you’re living a chaotic life, and want to get organized, it begins with having structure. You may not like structure, and that’s ok, but are you enjoying the chaos?
You may say, this sounds like too much work. I've been living like this since I was a child. It’s been my lifestyle. It’s not difficult; it’s actually really easy and simple. It’s not exhausting, but invigorating! It’s not for everybody. You have to think about how much you want it and if it’s the lifestyle you want to live. If so, you’ll reap the benefits of having more free time, less stress, more structure, and you’ll be more efficient and productive.
If you are starting on your journey to get organized, you may be thinking that you want to get creative and make things look perfect like the pictures you see on Pinterest. If you are just beginning with this organizing process and making attempts you have never made before, be cautious of social media sites with organizing pictures. Why you ask? You will see some crazy, complicated, difficult to follow systems and some that just don't make sense. I look at some of the pictures and think that they will create more work for people.
Organizing is all about making you become more efficient and productive and if it complicates your life rather than making it easier, it's not worth it.
Most people who are beginning the organizing process are overwhelmed and stressed. Some will turn to these social media outlets for help but end up more overwhelmed and confused.
For example, I came across a picture that had 2 tall pretty bottles. Think: old fashioned soda bottles. These bottles were being used as a bracelet organizer. All the bracelets were stacked on top of each other. The set up looked quite nice and beautiful, BUT that wasn’t my first reaction.
I asked myself a few questions when I saw this.
How long is it going to take me to grab the bracelet in the middle? I’m all about efficiency and if it’s going to take me a few minutes to pull all the bracelets off to get the one I want, it’s not practical.
How many bracelets do I have to touch to grab the one I want? If I have to touch 4 bracelets to get to the one, I want, I just wasted time. I know it’s only a few seconds but add that up throughout your home and guess how much time you could save.
What am I going to do with the ones on top once I take them off? Will they get left out to put away later? Most people are in a rush and would take the bracelets off and leave them and not put them back. Now you have items that need to be picked up later, creating more work.
Wouldn’t it be easier to develop a system where you could open a drawer or a jewelry organizer and grab the bracelet when you needed it? You wouldn’t have to go through all of the above. Think of how this could affect you if it were a larger organizing project.
This is just one example, but it makes you think a little different about this system, right? This is how you should approach all the systems you develop. Again, it's work to create these efficient working systems, but after a while, it will become second nature to develop these systems.
Think about areas in your home where you spend the most time. How efficient are you in those rooms? Evaluate how you are functioning, how you grab items and how many items you have to touch before you find what you need. You may need to tweak the systems you have in place to make them work better for you. Streamline how you function in your home. For those that say they never have enough time, these are the ways you create more time.
When creating your systems, remember that simpler is better. The more complicated the system, the more likely it is going to fail. Also, it's great to have something pretty, colorful, and nice to look at but think about if it's also going to help you become more efficient and productive.
Choose one area this week and streamline!
Kristin has written over 350 articles. Her column, Organized Energized Living, can be found twice a month in the Coastal Breeze. She also wrote a weekly column for GoLocalProv from 2012-2018 and has been featured in local and national publications. She is author of the book, Living an Organized, Energized Life! For more info on how to purchase, click here.